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To Phillip: On Stephen Covey's 8th Habit

Accessing the Moment Between Stimulus and Response

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This emergence transcript is excerpted from emails in which I discussed Stephen Covey's new book; the 8th Habit, From Greatness to Effectiveness.

On January 5, I received the following email

Hello Steven,

I appreciate your insight to love and forgiveness. If I may show a little love and a helping hand, if you will notice the paragraph I copied below from URL:, you may notice the underlined in bold text is a bit confusing.

I am working on material on addictions and am looking for good ideas to promote spiritual, emotional and mental healing. Then I will connect this to the physical factors, the nervous and endocrine system, the effects of body toxicity plus infections, parasites, fungus, and yeast infections. Candid Albicans more in particular.

If you would like to know more let me know.

Thanks! Have a very Happy New Year


On January 7, I wrote back and said ...

Hi Phillip,

Thank you so much for the helping hand or should I say, the "helping eye." I, in fact, sometimes wish I had a full time person just to manage my site; it's grown quite large and probably has many uncorrected typos.

As for what you're writing about; addictions; yes, I'd be interested in hearing more. In fact, it might be nice to dialogue back and forth a bit, as I've learned quite a lot about how states of consciousness affect not only the getting and healing of addictions but also the getting and healing of most other conditions, including the physical conditions you name.

In any event, again, I want to thank you for your caring email.



On January 7, Phillip wrote back and said ...

Hello Steven,

Thank you for your caring spirit and gentle heart. I can feel your efforts and work are more than a vocation. You are there for others and it shows.

I too have been doing a lot of soul searching and research, not as a professional, but to contribute to a better world and to help others on their way.

I am gathering material at this point on addictions, more particularly on sexual addiction and the relationships that exist between the different levels of human experience. These are mentioned in Steven R. Covey's latest book, The 8th Habit, as being birth gifts that are hard wired into each one of as. These gifts are:

  1. Freedom and power to choose
  2. Principles ( Natural Laws)
    • Universal
    • Timeless
    • Self-evident
  3. The 4 Intelligences/Capacities
    • (IQ) Mental
    • (EQ) Emotional/Social
    • (PQ) Physical/Economic
    • (SQ) Spiritual

Your material and your evaluations of what you are experiencing seem very insightful and revealing as to the connections which influence behavior. It is a blessing to have come across what you are doing with love and devotion that fits so perfectly into the recovery of every kind of addiction.

My efforts are from a non-professional background, yet I feel a similar love and devotion to build and complement the work of others who are really making a difference. It would be great to be able to share with you what I am doing and without distracting you from more important work that you are doing. Hopefully you might find some of it of use. Not that I am presuming that it is any great thing. It just seems to make sense to me. Then again, so does insanity seem to make sense to the insane.

Thank you again.



On January 16, I responded with ...

Hi Phillip,

Sorry for my slow reply. As you might guess, I'm pretty busy these days. More to the point though, I was so pleasantly surprised by your reference to Steven Covey's new book that I wanted time to get my thoughts together.

Until recently, I, myself, had not read any of his work. So when I opened the cover to his new book; the 8th Habit; I was quite taken by what he was suggesting.

In fact, my reaction surprised me. You see, I rarely read what many people would call, "business related books." Even so, I was so impressed by his wisdom and his personal honesty, that I bought his book on the spot.

Now, as you infer when you say you see my work as being "more than a vocation to me," in truth, I have been doing my best for some time now to live what Mr. Covey is suggesting in his book. And trying to teach others to do the same.

More to the point though, while I believe Mr. Covey is very, very right about this way of living, and right that it is exactly what we all need do in order to feel happy and fulfilled in life, I also believe he has somehow missed what keeps people from living this way already.

Phillip, I say this knowing how arrogant it may sound. Even so, I have many many years of work that supports my claim; that people can not simply "make better choices" even when they know better and even when they have been inspired. In truth, it takes doing much more than this to actually change one's life.

What does it take then?

Before I tell you, let me first refer you back to the wonderful story Mr. Covey tells in his book, about how he came to see his work. In this story, he refers to his having pulled a book down from a shelf while on sabbatical in Hawaii. He then says he read the following three lines:

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In these choices lie our growth and our happiness.

choices per Steven Covey

Phillip, I know he is exactly right about where our whole happiness lies. This middle moment is the key to our happiness. In fact, it is also the basis of all human wisdom.

OK. So this moment is the key to it all. However, knowing where this moment is, is useless to most of us. Why? Because what I have discovered in my work is, we can not simply "choose" to use these moments. Why not?

First, please know that what I'm about to say is the basis of all my work and of all my discoveries. Also remember, I've said I know Mr. Covey is right; that our happiness does lie in the space in between stimulus and response.

So why can't we simply access this middle moment?

My answer? Because this middle moment is what injury BLocks in us.

What I mean by this is that, whenever we get injured in life, what gets injured in us is our access to this middle moment. In fact, this BLocked access is the injury itself. The injury is that we "literally can't access this middle moment," at least on the screen of our inner mind.

choices per Emergence

So how can we temporarily feel inspired? The answer is, inspiring people literally lift us up high enough to temporarily experience their good advice. They literally inspire us high enough to see their good choices. For the time we feel inspired anyway.

Inspired by others

So what about the wonderful advice Mr. Covey offers in his book?

The simplest way I can describe this advice is how it affected me: it inspired me. And I am a man who spends his life inspiring others. Which brings me to my point.

I felt inspired by our commonality; we both live similarly, looking to inspire others to better lives. In other words, we both live on the same side of the BLock, literally.

And other people?

Well, if they too already live on the other side of the BLock, they too will feel inspired by the kindred connection his inspiring messages hold.

And if they do not live on the same side of the BLock?

Simply put, Stephen Covey's advice is wonderful. But only if you can access it.

Can most of us access it?

No, we can't.

Why not?

Because most of us have long ago lost our ability to picture ourselves taking this wonderful advice.

How can you know?

By simply asking yourself, "Can I picture what my life would look like if I took this wonderful advice?"

If the answer is "yes," you will literally be able to "see" yourself living this advice in ways which personally fit you. I, myself, can picture this advice and can literally see unlimited possibilities to come.

Please know, when I use the word "see" here, I am not simply referring to my having the mental awareness this possibility for choice exists. I am literally referring to my being able to picture what living this advice looks like. More over, because I can picture what living this advice could look like, I can and will live it. And I do.

As for my own access, for most of my life, my access to these choices was also BLocked. However, through my discoveries, I've been able to reclaim a good portion of the access I'd lost.

choices per Emergence

Reclaiming this access is what my word "emergence" refers to. It refers to the fact that when we heal, the "healing" itself is that our access to the moment between stimulus and response emerges.

For example, not that many years ago, Phillip, had someone written and pointed out errors on my site, I would have had to contain my real feelings; my real, first inner responses.

What might these real feelings have been back then?

Well, back then, these "real feelings" might have been something like, "who the heck is this person to point out my errors! What, is he without errors!"

I would have been mad.

In truth though Phillip, I feel grateful you wrote me. More than this though, I feel so very grateful to have reclaimed access to the moment in between your having pointed out my errors and how my inner self responded.

I, in fact, did nothing at all to contain my responses. I didn't have to. In fact, my emails to you are my inner responses: with no effort at all, I feel grateful to you.

Now, you'll probably laugh at what I'm about to say: I'd actually like it if you wrote to me and pointed out more of my typos. After all, as I've already admitted, I'm quite overwhelmed with trying to manage all I've written. And so, I would welcome loving help, at least of the "pointing out typos with loving kindness" kind.

Finally, as I suspect what we've exchanged may help someone else, I would ask your permission Phillip to post what we've said, anonymously, of course. Or not if you'd like me to include your site link.

And after all, isn't this sharing exactly what Mr. Covey is suggesting we do.

I hope this email finds you well and happy.


P.S. Phillip, please do try to be a little easier on yourself. You are far from insane, and your motives seem to be in the best spirit we humans can be; loving.

The Kinds of Choices We Can Make

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Quik Summary: What Makes Inspiration Fade ...

To read more about Stephen Covey and Inspiring Choices ...

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